Skip to main content

Full text of "NightRider"

See other formats


vidual man's truth, It crushed truths as under a blundering
tread, It was blind.

He scarcely listened to the witnesses. He watched Doctor
MacDonald leaning back in his chair, at ease, it seemed, and
attentive only out of courtesy. What was Doctor MacDonald's
truth? He had never asked himself that question before. Or
he watched Cordelia. Her truth, what was it?

The witnesses mounted the stand; and descended. Wilkins
seemed bored, and confident. For witness after witness, he
waived cross-examination, or asked some single perfunctory
question, contemptuous in its perfunctoriness.

Until Mr. Al Turpin came to the stand. But even then, at
first, Wilkins did not change.

Al Turpin was a beefy man, blockishly built, with a swarthy
skin and thinning, greasy-looking hair. On top of his overalls
he wore a brown wool coat. He would speak heavily and
deliberately for a moment or two, then stop in the middle of
a sentence, as though he had forgotten what he was there for,
as though if he ceased to speak the scene before him might
fade into unreality. While the people watched him, he would
blink slowly. Then, at a word from the prosecutor, he would
shake his head apologetically, humbly, like a man started out
of a drowse, and would wet his lips and resume.

A man moved down the aisle, almost on tiptoe, and ap-
proached the table where Wilkins and Doctor MacDonald sat.
He leaned over the table, talking earnestly to Wilkins. At a
gesture from Wilkins, Doctor MacDonald leaned forward,
too. Mr. Munn watched them, trying to place the man
who had come in. Then he remembered him as a cousin of
Wilkins.

Wilkins looked at his watch.

Doctor MacDonald was nodding at something the man was
saying, and Wilkins snapped shut his watch. Then the man
went out, tiptoeing up the aisle, for the heavy, deliberate voice
of Al Turpin was still speaking, giving the testimony. " I
was a member of the Association," he was saying, " and I had
my crop in the Association. Going on thirty-five thousand